Alaska News Nightly: November 20, 2009

Murkowski to Vote No on Health Bill

Photo by Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is joined by fellow Republicans to criticize the health legislation now before the Senate. The chamber is expected to vote on the measure on Saturday.  A close vote is expected.

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Senate Expected to Vote on Health Care Bill
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The US Senate is poised to take a first vote on health care tomorrow (Saturday) night. Senator Lisa Murkowski will vote “no” along with all the other Republicans, so in order to move forward, Democrats need every member of their caucus – all 60 – to vote yes.

Cook Inlet Oil Draws Attention
Ben Stanton, KDLL – Kenai
While local officials and oil producer talk about a decline in oil production in Cook Inlet, at least one company is taking more steps with appraisal work and exploration of the Cosmopolitan Field.

North Pole Back in Business with Santa Letters
Lori Townsend and Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
A last minute reprieve will keep letters from Santa Claus coming from North Pole.   Ernie Swanson, a spokesman with the postal service’s Alaska District, says public pressure has reversed an earlier post office decision banning volunteers from responding to letters to Santa.

Troopers Rescue Hunters in YK Delta
Shane Iverson, KYUK – Bethel
Two overdue hunters in the YK Delta were rescued by Alaska State Troopers and volunteer search and rescue teams after spending the night wet, and in sub-zero conditions.

Mat-Su Already Thinking of Salmon Runs
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
Even while below zero winter temperatures are freezing Matanuska Valley streams, folks there are already thinking about salmon.

Halibut Targets Met
Robert Woolsey, KCAW – Sitka
Commercial fishermen met their harvest targets for halibut this year. The nearly nine-month long season ended on the 15th.

Senate OKs More Funds for Rural and Homeless Vets
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
The Senate passed a Veterans Health Care bill on Thursday that could expand treatment for veterans, including those who are homeless and live in rural areas, and would bring increased focus on the needs of women vets.

Broomball Catching on in Homer
Aaron Selbig, KBBI – Homer
The Canadian sport of broomball – a mash-up of hockey and soccer played on ice – has proven popular in Homer, where the Homer Broomball League is in its second year.  This week, an All-Star team of Homer broomball players has returned from Whitehorse – where they took on the Canadians for the first time.

Family Rescued From Hatcher Pass Flooding
Ellen Lockyer, APRN – Anchorage
At least one family was evacuated Wednesday night when ice jams pushed water in Willow Creek over the banks. The flooding took place near Hatcher Pass in the Matanuska Susitna Borough on the Willow Fishhook Road.  Two more families left their homes Thursday night due to high water, and a foot of water is reported to be covering some area roads.  Mat-Su Borough emergency personnel are monitoring the situation.